Exploring the Kilimanjaro region can be done is many thrilling ways. As the mountain is open to hikers it is a highly travelled to area for those ready for a once in a life time adventure. Hiking the mountain is an experience you will never forget. You will share the stories of your trek up Kilimanjaro with all your friends and family for years to come.

The path up Mt. Kilimanjaro isn’t the biggest challenge you will face. Luckily for hikers there are different options that you can choose from when planning your hike. The path itself, is clearly marked and is cleared of any debris as it is well travelled. The camping equipment that you will need for the climb is fairly heavy and usually requires the hikers to hire a local to carry the equipment for them. These locals work hard, climbing up and down the mountain so hikers can summit one of the most inspirational mountains in the world. Be sure to brighten the day of one of these workers by giving them a small tip. It will be greatly appreciated for all the long days they put in.

There are 6 different routes that you can choose. The routes differ based on difficulty, scenery and length of climb. All options are well planned for safety of the climbers; you just need to decide which is best for you and your physical abilities.

The Marangu route is known to be the most popular to tourists because it is the straight forward path up and down the mountain. It takes 5 days to complete the Marangu route, but you may choose an extra day to acclimatize yourself. This route is unique because it is the only trail that has huts to sleep in instead of tents. Camping is not allowed on this trail. The same route is used for climbing up and down the mountain. This route tends to be busier than the others.

The Machame route can be completed in 6 or 7 days. It is harder than the Marangu route as it is steeper with lots of up’s and down’s through valleys and there is a wall to cross. The Barranco Wall takes about 1.5 hours to conquer. It is very steep and it is likely you will need your hands to balance yourself. The scenery on this route is incredible. You will see the Shira Plateau and the Lava Tower. This route is still very busy so you will need to be prepared for that.

The Rongai route is a 6 day trek that is out of the way then the other trails. It is more private and has breathtaking scenery. If you want to view local wildlife on your adventure this route is for you. This route is the only one that climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro from the North. Coming down the mountain, hikers use the Marangu route meaning you will get to enjoy both sides of the mountain. This route has a very good success rate as the North side of the mountain is dry.

The Shira route has different variations you can choose from, including the length. It can be completed in 6 days although that may not be enough for acclimatizing yourself and you may want to consider another version with a day or 2 extra. The route starts from the West and then meets the Machame route. On the first day of the Shira trek you can choose to walk the road or hire a driver to drive you as far as they can. The first day of the climb you enter the rainforest zone. The last day of the climb is a short trek to the summit as you will camp at the Karanga Valley the night before. Due to the difficulty of this option it is less travelled than some of the other options.

The Lemosho route takes you through the rainforest on the first 2 days. There is wildlife living in the rainforest so have your camera ready! The route starts from the West and meets with the Machame route to finish the climb. The trek on this route is between 7 and 8 days. The trail is remote and transportation is necessary to get to the start. The success rates for the Lemosho route are also very high as the route is well planned with staggering camps to get the most out of each day.

The Umbwe route is the most difficult. It is steep and challenging, and you will need to hold on the trees for balance on the first few days of the trail. There are ridges and with sharp drop off’s so this trail is not recommended for those scared of heights. On the second night the trail meets with the Machame route which will be used to summit the peak.

With the choice of difficulty levels, length, and cost, you will be sure to find an option that is appealing to you and your needs. There are other cultural programs in the park that are fun to check out before or after the amazing trip up to the highest summit in Africa.